Residential rehab for substance abuse: How to avoid getting ripped off

Choosing a residential rehab can be confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. But knowing the right questions to ask can help alleviate the guess work and lead to an informed decision. More on how to prepare for residential rehab for substance abuse.

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What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

By Michael Sigal, Founder – Book Your Care

Some residential rehabs can be motivated by profit rather than wellness. But daily life during inpatient rehab should be recovery-oriented. So how can you choose the right rehab for yourself or a loved one? Knowing the right questions to ask can help alleviate the guess work. More here on how to prepare for admission to rehab, how to seek good qualities of a rehab center, and a section at the end for your questions. We try to answer all legitimate questions about substance abuse treatment with a personal and prompt response.

Getting prepared for substance abuse treatment

Like most every contributor and visitor to Addiction Blog I have a personal story about how substance abuse has impacted my life. In my case, the battle was waged on behalf of my son who had become addicted to pain medication following an undiagnosed illness. My story could be the story that millions of Americans are dealing with each day. We want to help…we try to help…but we don’t know how to help.

As I began navigating the waters of residential treatment I quickly learned two key lessons. The first is that there are many paths up the mountain. What works for one person does not mean it will automatically work for another. There is no “one size fits all” treatment option and, because of that, I was faced with a dizzying array of options.

The second is that despite having a great deal of education and business success under my belt, I was woefully unprepared to determine the best treatment option for my son.

How to read between the lines

I did as much research on residential treatment facilities as possible but realized that as a layman it was hard to read between the lines. What I really wanted were facts. I wanted to narrow down my choices as if I was buying a new car. So I did what most people do. I tried to get a good sense of what a facility offers, trusted my instincts and hoped for the best.

English philosopher, statesman and author Sir Francis Bacon coined the famous quote, “Knowledge is Power” in the mid-17th century. In today’s digital age, knowledge is still power but it’s become much more accessible. Yet with all the information we have available to us sometimes it still comes down to asking the right questions and listening for the right answers.

Some but profit before wellness

The cold hard truth is that with the amount of money on the table for a monthly stay at a residential treatment facility, there are some who will seek to take advantage of a person’s fragile emotional and/or physical state and put profit before wellness. This is not something unique to the substance abuse industry. Integrity cannot be legislated.

Here are some key questions that you can ask of a facility representative during the research process. It’s important to understand that most who work in the industry are truly committed to helping those in need. They will answer your questions patiently and honestly. However, if you feel rushed, pressured or don’t receive what you believe to be truthful responses, take that as a Red Flag and move on. The stakes are too high.

The Basics

  • What licenses does the facility hold and what type of treatment do they offer?
  • How often will a Treatment Physician be available and what are his or her credentials?
  • Will treatment be delivered at the facility or at an offsite location?
  • After discharge, is follow-up care and support offered?

The Specifics

  • Will psychological and/or medical exams take place upon admission?
  • Is the facility co-ed or gender specific? If co-ed, how are the bedrooms separated?
  • What is the counselor to client patient ratio?
  • What are the proactive procedures for monitoring possible problems regarding the health, safety and welfare of the patients?

The What If’s

  • What if there is no response or a negative response to treatment?
  • What if something takes place that necessitates leaving the program early?
  • What if there is a medical emergency?
  • What is the protocol for dealing with a patient in severe distress?

Know what to expect of residential rehab

We all know the treatment process can be rough so anything we can do in advance to make it a more comfortable experience and provide the best chance for success should be pursued. Does everyone who undergoes treatment end up “cured?” No. But a great many are successful. If we know what to expect, and put our trust in the hands of true professionals, we will give ourselves the opportunity of living the type of substance-free life, and all that comes with it, that we deserve.

About Michael Sigal
Inspired by his own personal experience, Michael Sigal founded, the first and only service that provides unbiased reviews of residential treatment facilities. Longtime treatment industry professionals physically visit facilities to analyze and prepare thorough assessments in an effort to better inform those in need. Facilities cannot pay to be included in the BookYourCare directory. Additionally, BookYourCare provides the opportunity for prospective patients to bid on treatment to help keep high costs down.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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